Exploring Student Attitudes Toward Physical Education and Implications for Policy

Gavin Colquitt, Georgia Southern University
Ashley D. Walker, Georgia Southern University
Jody L. Langdon, Georgia Southern University
Starla McCollum, Georgia Southern University
Melanie Pomazal, Perry Middle School


Psychosocial variables can mediate physical activity and health-related fitness. The purpose of this study was to explore student attitudes toward physical education among students in Georgia (US) which recently implemented a policy requiring statewide fitness testing. A paper-pencil survey and fitness testing were administered to a convenience sample of middle school students. Student attitudes toward physical education were assessed by a Likert-type scale survey that measured two attitude constructs, Enjoyment and Perceived Usefulness. Health-related fitness was assessed by the FITNESSGRAM. Overall, students (N = 122) had positive attitudes toward physical education (M = 87.51 out of a possible 100 points, SD = 10.51).Separate stepwise regression analyses indicated the PACER test was the only significant predictor of Enjoyment in physical education, accounting for 16.4% of the variance (F (1, 120) = 20.32, p < .001). PACER and BMI were significant predictors of Perceived Usefulness of physical education, accounting for 15.2% of the variance (F(1, 119) = 10.69, p < .001). Student attitudes toward physical education can serve as a mediating factor for health-related fitness. Addressing the social and emotional health of students- as advocated in the Coordinated School Health Model- may also impact health-related fitness.